Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Filip: Hi, I am Filip.
Becky: And I’m Becky. Welcome back to NorwegianClass101.com. This is Lower Beginner, Season 1, Lesson 16 - Impress Your Norwegian Boss!
Becky: In this lesson you’ll learn how to say “can you”, and “to wonder”.
Filip: We saw “can you” in some earlier lessons, and we’ll go back and take a more thorough look at it now. You might also remember this verb from our previous lesson, as one of the examples of past tense irregularity - ‘å kunne.’
Becky: Which means “to be able to”. This time we’ll look at using this verb when asking favours.
Filip: In the conversation, Kjersti is at her office, and her boss is asking her a favour.
Becky: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Becky: So there’s really no use of polite speech, even in a work environment, is there?
Filip: You mean using polite speech with your boss or superiors? No, it’s not necessary.
Becky: Right, even Kjersti in this conversation is pretty casual in her tone.
Filip: True. Although it might not be common to use polite speech when you’re talking to colleagues or superiors, some people still choose to be more businesslike. And you might also have noticed that Kjersti didn’t hesitate when her boss asked her for the favour.
Becky: Yeah, she didn’t. And I guess it’s common to say yes to your superiors. But there’s no penalty for saying no either, is there?
Filip: If the favour falls outside of your contract, let’s say your boss asks you to bring coffee, you can say no without any negative consequences.
Becky: Well, that’s good, even if it might be more common to say yes.
Filip: But on the topic of working in Norway, there’s one thing I would like to remind our listeners of. If you want a job in Norway, your chances of getting one will really increase if you can speak Norwegian.
Becky: True, Norway is still a country where the official language is the main one used in business, so getting a job without speaking Norwegian can be quite difficult.
Filip: But listeners, you’re here learning Norwegian, so you’re on the right track anyway!
Becky: True! And with that, let’s look at this lesson’s vocabulary.
Filip: Our first word ,‘å lure’, can be quite tricky in English as it can mean...
Becky: “to wonder”, “to be thinking”, and “to be curious”. In English, there are a lot of verbs that are put in the present tense and combined with “to be”. For example “to be thinking”. This essentially makes them adjectives, or “to be” verbs.
Filip: But in Norwegian, we have nothing similar to this - there are either direct verbs or adjectives. This results in a lot of these direct verbs like ‘å lure’.
Becky: Next we have another word that is the result of almost the same situation. In English, we have the three verbs “to fetch”, “to get”, and “to bring”. They can be used interchangeably. But in Norwegian, you just use the one verb.
Filip: ‘å hente’. This is basically the action of “taking something from a to b”. There’s another phrase very similar to ‘å hente’. It’s ‘å ta med’.
Becky: And it translates as “to bring”. But the nuance is a bit different here - you are “bringing something along somewhere”. Let’s look at some examples.
Filip: Jeg lurte på om du kunne gå tur med bikkja?
Becky: “I was wondering if you could take a walk with the dog?”
Filip: Lurte du på noe?
Becky: “Were you wondering about anything?”
Filip: Henter han ungene i dag?
Becky: “Is he fetching the kids today?” Ok, let’s move on to the grammar.

Lesson focus

Becky: In this lesson you’ll learn how to use “can you” and “I wonder”.
Filip: That’s right. We’ll do that by breaking down two sentences from our dialogue that included the words we’re looking at.
Becky: This will be pretty simple, but we’re going to explain how they work thoroughly. Let’s start with the simplest sentence.
Filip: Alright. ‘Kan du komme hit litt?’
Becky: It means “Can you come here for a bit?”
Filip: Ok, so the first word here is the verb ‘kan’, which means “can”. It’s followed by the pronoun ‘du’, which refers to the person we are asking to do the favour. Next comes ‘komme,’ which is the infinitive form of ‘å komme’, and it refers to the action we want taken. Next we have ‘hit’ which means “here”. It’s a preposition, and just adds extra information to the question. Finally, we have ‘litt’ which is an adverb that means “a bit”, or “little”.
Becky: Altogether once more...
Filip: Kan du komme hit litt.
Becky: This structure is very simple. You just put ‘kan du’ or ‘kan’ plus any pronoun, then follow it up with the verb you want done, and any extra information after that. Let’s look at some examples of that. First, the pronouns.
Filip: du
Becky: you
Filip: jeg
Becky: I
Filip: dere
Becky: you (plural)
Filip: han
Becky: he
Filip: hun
Becky: she
Filip: vi
Becky: we
Filip: And finally, ‘De’
Becky: “They”. Alright. Let’s look at some sample sentences.
Filip: Kan dere kjøre meg hjem?
Becky: “Can you (guys) drive me home?
Filip: Kan hun snakke norsk?
Becky: “Can she speak Norwegian?”
Filip: Kan jeg få kake?
Becky: “Can I have cake?”
Filip: These scenarios are all a bit different, aren’t they! And you might also have noticed that ‘kan’ can also mean “being able to”, to talk about ability, like “can” in English.
Becky: The next sentence was quite long to begin with, so we shortened it a bit.
Filip: Jeg lurte på om du kunne...
Becky: It means “I wondered if you could...” Now, the reason we stopped it there is that after “could”, it would continue like the sentence above with a verb, saying what you want help with and other relevant information.
Filip: The verb that came after this one in the dialogue was ‘dra’ meaning “to go”. If you compare it to the verb that came after ‘kan du’ in the earlier sentence, which was ‘komme’, you’ll notice that both verbs are in the infinitive. You follow this rule for all verbs that come after ‘å kunne’ which means “to be able to”.
Becky: Let’s break down our sentence, first we have...
Filip: ‘Jeg’ which means “I”. It’s the pronoun asking for the favour, meaning it could also be “we”, “you”, “them”, “he”, and “she”. Next we have ‘lurte’. It’s the past tense form of ‘å lure.’
Becky: In English it means “to wonder”. You can use the present tense of this verb as well, and it wouldn’t change the sentence.
Filip: Next we have the conjunction ‘på om’. It translates best as...
Becky: “Whether” or “if”. These two will always follow each other in a sentence like this, so think of them as one part.
Filip: Then we have ‘du’ meaning “you” which is the pronoun.
Filip: Finally, we have the verb ‘kunne’ again. Altogether, ‘jeg lurte på om du kunne.’
Becky: Which means “I wondered if you could”. This is essentially just a longer, but also more polite or soft way of asking a favour. Norwegians often use it to ask for favours that might be a bit tedious.
Filip: Jeg lurte på om dere kunne hjelpe til?
Becky: “I wondered whether you guys would help out?”
Filip: Vi lurte på om vi kunne sitte på?
Becky: “We wondered if we could get a ride?”
Filip: Han lurte på hvorfor du ikke spiser?
Becky: “He wondered why you are not eating?”


Becky: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thanks for listening, everyone!
Filip: Takk for at dere hørte på, hade!
Becky: See you next time!